LGS Innovations, based in Herndon, Va., announced Feb. 23 the successful completion of a two-year Laser Radar Technology (LRT) effort in partnership with the Strategic Technology Office (STO) within the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
“This breakthrough required developing a laser with the ability to produce a wide range of optical waveforms, and the ability to change waveforms in real-time while operating at full power,” LGS Innovations Advanced Research and Technology division Chief Scientist for Photonics Applications Stephan Wielandy said. “To our knowledge, no laser with the ability to meet all of these waveform agility requirements has ever been made before.”
“LGS’ labs house some of the brightest scientists and engineers in the world, all of whom wake up everyday thinking about how to improve our armed forces’ information advantage and keep our country safe,” LGS Innovations CEO Kevin Kelly said. “We believe we are on bleeding edge of photonics research, which has a wide range of mission critical applications from LIDAR imaging and missile defense to free-space optical communication and more.”
Light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is a remote sensing technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser and analyzing the reflected light. The technology has been used in military operations such as those in Afghanistan due to its ability to provide 3-D imagery from aerial platforms that is quicker to produce, more accurate, at higher resolution and able to cover wider areas of terrain than other sensing and mapping tools.
The LRT program supports the development of detector arrays and laser transmitter technologies that could improve the ability for a LIDAR system to switch between settings geared to detect objects of interest and settings geared to hone in and provide additional insight on the selected object.